After eight years growing grapes on her farm in Marion County, Alex Ackermann decided to expand her business and open the first winery in the county.
Ackermann entered the wine business later in life. “My kids were growing up and I was looking for something to do,” she said. “My husband and I were looking at this property and my friend said, ‘ That sure would be a great place to grow grapes.’” Intrigued, Alex began researching viticulture and was quickly hooked.
Ackermann manages the farm herself, tending to the grapes, treating them for pests and selling them to wine makers. Over time, she found herself ready to take on a new challenge. “Opening a winery is a natural next step and brings a value added product to my farm.”
In February 2011 Ackermann was referred to Patricia Krausman with the University of Kentucky SBDC in Elizabethtown.
Patricia helped me put together the comprehensive business plan necessary to obtain funding and run my business. She also went with me to the different banks when I was looking for financing. Opening a winery in Marion County is uncharted territory for this area so banks were hesitant to loan. Having Patricia’s assistance gave me additional credibility.
– Alex Ackermann
BlueMoon Winery became a reality in July 2011 when Ackermann received a loan to purchase land for the winery, necessary equipment and working capital to hire her first employee – a professional wine maker.
That fall, Ackermann had her first grape crushing and bottled 2,000 cases of wine made from 100% Kentucky-grown grapes. Ackermann explained that it is important to her that BlueMoon Winery uses Ken- tucky grapes to further support Kentucky’s growing wine industry.
Ackermann continues to consult with KSBDC as her business grows. BlueMoon Winery will hold its grand opening celebration in July 2012.
LEXINGTON, Ky., (Feb. 14, 2017) – Kentucky Small Business Development Center is seeking nominations for the 2017 Pacesetter Awards. The recognition program was created to honor high performing, second-stage businesses that are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape. The deadline to submit nominations is March 15.
KSBDC encourages small businesses that meet the following minimum qualifications to apply:
· Privately held
· In business for three or more years
· Employ six or more full-time employees, including the owner
· Annual sales meet or exceed $500,000
· Located and headquartered in Kentucky
·Demonstrate the intent and capacity to grow evidenced by the judging criteria.
Pacesetters will be selected based on two or more of the following criteria:
· Growth in the number of employees
·Increase in sales and/or unit volume
· Innovativeness of the product or service
·Response to adversity
·Employee engagement and commitment
·Contributions by the nominee to aid community-oriented projects
Pacesetters will be recognized at the Kentucky Celebrates Small Business event held at the Capitol rotunda in Frankfort during the first week of May. Each honoree will receive an award inscribed with the business’s name and a promotional video for their own use that highlights the business. In addition, KSBDC will send a customized press release announcing the award to local media and trade associations. Honorees are given the rights to use the Kentucky Pacesetter logo and event photographs in promoting their business.
Anyone may submit nominations, including third parties associated with an eligible second-stage business. A business may self-nominate by completing the required form. Winners will be notified by March 27. Full nomination requirements and the application are online at https://www.ksbdc.org/kentucky-pacesetters1 .
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 12 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. More information on KSBDC services can be found on their website, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .
Writer: Roberta Meisel, 859-257-0104
UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.